Building A Comprehensive Contingency Plan

May 25, 2017

Terrorism, natural disasters, corporate scandals, labor strikes and industrial accidents have plagued corporations for decades, and more and more businesses realize the critical role that a well-developed contingency plan can play. They also realize that now – more than ever – it is not only what happens that adversely affects the business operations, it is how you deal with it and the message sent to the public. Companies cannot afford to be caught unprepared for a business setback. With the correct plan, you can mitigate your risk and preserve your brand. A good contingency plan will include allowances for the necessary specialized security, human impact resources, supplemental personnel needs, a robust communication/public relations plan and solid operational strategies.

You need to create a contingency planning committee that represents all stakeholders to oversee this effort. Ideally, have an outside expert review the plan to ensure proper goals have been established, workable timelines have been set up, and the logistics are accurate. The result should be a comprehensive plan, accessible to all team members and ready to be implemented at a moment’s notice.

Regardless of the reason that your business is in potential turmoil, you are going to need individuals with the required skill sets to address all facets within the plan. The personnel you bring on board should have experience that allows them to make sound decisions in less than ideal conditions. You must thoroughly review your company’s facilities, operations, and existing business practices to identify your strengths and vulnerabilities. For business continuity, you may also need to provide for people’s personal needs. The plan should also include provisions for family members of your company’s management team and employees. Depending on the nature of the business interruption, your company may need to not only address these issues but also interface with emergency response agencies. In this case, you should meet regularly with these agencies and have ongoing open communications.

Special amenities may be required that include things such as mobile workstations, appetizing meals, clean and comfortable sleeping and shower arrangements and laundry facilities. In a natural disaster, you may have to hire temporary workers from outside of the affected area, as it could be a matter of economic survival. Plan ahead and identify the working resources you will require, and then internally fill those positions with existing resources or work with a company that can provide personnel with those skills. Should you work with an outside resource, that company should supervise those employees on your behalf so your company’s managers can concentrate on returning to business as usual.In uncertain times, it is extremely important to communicate. You need to let your employees, clientele, business investors, and internal management team know how you are handling things and how you will continue to address any difficulties or problems encountered. Nobody likes being left in the dark; it can make them nervous and cause them to question your intentions and authority. Be up front, available and honest. All sorts of people will want to know what’s going on – so let them know. Open and frequent communication is vital!
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